Tea Cooking! The best kind of cooking.
So, today I decided to try a new recipe from the book of tea infused cooking that I own. One of the ones that seemed pretty easy to do was Pu’erh infused grilled tofu with a Thai-style peanut sauce that was also Pu’erh infused. I’ve been on a BIG Peanut Noodle kick recently and am not the world’s greatest cook either so I figured that this was the recipe for me.
For the record, the recipe didn’t specify what kind of Pu’erh to use so this is the one I chose because I have TONS of it. It’s one my mom brought back for me from her vacation in Vancouver. The shop owner had recommended it to her, and she got half a cake for me as a “sample” rather than a whole cake. Silly woman.
I’m not gonna write out the whole recipe because that would take forever, but suffice to say that it was pretty easy to follow along with. The grilled tofu was marinated first in a soy sauce and pu’erh mixture and the sauce used the left over marinade, peanut butter, hot sauce, lemon, honey and more steeped up pu’erh. The dish was then finished off with a fresh mint leaf garnish. It took like MAYBE half an hour to make? Tops.
Here’s a pretty picture of the finished dish: https://scontent-yyz1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/15094473_10208739152930131_3931681742653876829_n.jpg?oh=7ee279706bc60221250013cb6456286e&oe=588C8DDB
Sadly, I have to say that this isn’t the best tea infused dish I’ve ever made. The big issue for me wasn’t actually the flavour though, but the texture. I generally like tofu a fair bit; I mean as a vegetarian you sort of have to. I think it was something to do with the marinading process; but the texture of the tofu was just so gross. As I bit into it the pu’erh almost ‘disintegrated’ into these weird, tough rubbery strands that felt gross and were sort of tough to chew. Definitely not a great thing.
But that said; the tofu was also the only area of the dish where I felt like I could actually taste the pu’erh. I mean, it was a milder flavour than just drinking a straight up cup of pu’erh but the smoky elements of the tea, and earthiness came through. And of course lots of umami and saltyness from the soy.
The sauce was… interesting.
I think the reason it didn’t initially sit right with me if that it’s a lot more acidic tasting than the sauce I’m used to that comes with my regular, ‘Go To’ peanut noodles. That one has some kick to it from spices, but is mostly creamy and uses coconut milk too which is a nice contrast. This doesn’t have any sort of ‘cream’ element to it other than the peanut butter itself. What it DOES have is a lot of fresh lemon juice. So it’s oddly a bit sour, with a mild heat from the hot sauce and lots of salt from the soy. However once I adjusted to the differences I found it really nice. Couldn’t taste the Pu’erh though.
The recipe makes A LOT of sauce – more than any sane person would ever need to use for the dish itself. So, I have a TON extra. Looks like I’ll be adding peanut sauce to everything for days to use it up. I can’t stand food waste, so just tossing it out isn’t an option. Also; if I make this one again I’m skipping the mint. It looked beautiful on the dish, but the flavour didn’t compliment it at all. I ended up picking most of the mint off and just eating it straight instead; that was far tastier.